• Room 0G.035 - Biological Sciences

    United Kingdom

Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

Farm animal behaviour and welfare


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Personal profile

Research Interests

Prof. Niamh O’Connell conducts farm animal health and welfare research in collaboration with post-doctoral research assistants (Maeve Palmer and Mary Baxter) and PhD students.  Niamh has specific expertise in applied, on-farm research work, and much of her research is funded by agri-food companies.  One of her research themes focusses on the welfare of poultry, and, in particular in recent years, on designing optimum housing environments for broiler chickens.  This includes work on the provision of different types of environmental enrichment (such as natural light, perches, foraging objects and dustbaths).  She is also involved in commercially-funded research to develop novel biocidal products for the agri-food sector, including products to treat digital dermatitis in dairy cows.  She also has a strong interest in developing new methods of assessing welfare, including the use of abattoir-based assessments to determine lifetime the welfare status of pigs.


She has published over 60 peer-reviewed papers and is a member of the EU Platform for Animal Welfare.  


Prof O'Connell is the Queens University co-ordinator of the BSc Agricultural Technology degree.  This degree is delivered through a collaborative partnership with the College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise.  She also acts as Advisor of Studies for students on this pathway.  She also co-ordinates the undergraduate module in Farm Animal Health and Welfare (BIO3106)


She teaches within the following pathways/modules:

 - MSc Animal Behaviour and Welfare

 - MSc Advanced Food Safety

- Farm Animal Health and Welfare (undergraduate module for Agricultural Technology and Zoology students)

 - Advances in Crop and Animal Science and Technology (undergraduate module for Agricultural Technology students)

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being


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